Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bush v. Gore's Dark American Decade

By Robert Parry
December 12, 2010

Ten years ago, the United States stood at a crossroads though the dimness of the future made it hard for many to see which path led toward a brighter day and which headed toward disaster. But then, a partisan Republican majority of the U.S. Supreme Court made the choice for the nation.

Read on.


JonnyJames said...

Sorry Mr. Parry, your superficial re-hash of the Bush/Gore debacle fails to identify the underlying problem.

You see some symptoms yet ignore the disease.

If I did not know better I would think you are apologizing for the status quo, two party Duopoly sham.

His claims fly in the face of those of other authors like: Chalmers Johnson, Sheldon Wolin, Steven Hill, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Bill Quigley et al.

Is Mr. Parry afraid or unable to ask the fundamental questions? Is he afraid to dig a bit deeper?
Is he afraid or unable of criticizing the deep-seated institutional corruption? The apologetics for the D party is pathetic.

To be crude: the Corporate/Bankster Mafia owns the place, they call the shots, they determine policy, they and their agents largely write our legislation. The political whores on both sides of the aisle are clearly on the take, despite the sophisticated propaganda and public relations. Is Mr. Parry gullible, naive, or merely an apologist for corruption?

With so-called progressives like this, we might as well turn on the TV

Randy said...

I think Mr. Parry should also remember the importance of the earlier "voter rolls purge" of then Florida Attorney-General Katherine Harris. Her removal of hundreds, if not thousands, of legal voters from the rolls was, many think, a much more important "control" to the Florida 2000 outcome than the "chads" controversies. In fact, I have long thought that, by emphasizing the "antiquated voting machines" problem instead of the voter purge, the Republicans made their "case" for Bush's "win" in Florida easier.

James Young said...

Clearly, y'all are on drugs.

me said...

coerce Obama into accepting an extension and expansion of tax cuts for the rich

Coerce? Are you kidding? That took as much coercion as dropping that public medical insurance option. That is to say, none. Obama adopted it eagerly.

Why did I vote for Obama?? He's just like Bush! Believe me, I will not make that mistake again.

I hope the republicans impeach him. He's totally worthless.

Mark E. Smith said...

Suppose Al Gore had become the President of the U.S. in 2000, and had then suffered a heart attack, died in a plane crash, or been assassinated. The country would then have had that great Democratic Party leader Joe Lieberman as President.

Of course Gore himself was Vice-President for eight years, and I don't remember him objecting to or protesting the Clinton war crimes or welfare "reforms." He's a "go along to get along" good old boy who can be counted on to do the corporations' bidding. Gore's primary concern after the 2000 "election" wasn't concern for Democratic voters or for the country, but to smooth the path to power for Bush, such as when Gore told the Democratic Senators not to sign the CBC petition protesting the fraudulent Florida electoral vote.

JonnyJames nailed it, Robert. You're attempting to make a distinction between corporate funded politicians, at a time when the Democratic Party has been getting as much if not more corporate funding than the Republicans and, as obvious quid pro quo, giving more money to defense and to the rich than the Republicans did.

I don't think we were worse off under Bush than we would have been under Gore-Lieberman. But I know that we're worse off under Obama than we were under Bush.

Don't worry. After he leaves the White House, Obama will probably follow Joe Lieberman's lead and switch over to the Republican Party to help the Democrats save face. Then you can keep blaming the Republicans for everything the oligarchy does. I'll bet you write several articles and maybe even a book about how Obama was really a Republican all along. But I don't buy it and nobody with any common sense will either.

Rational Dialogue said...

As the title of this excellent piece is written, it gives the impression that the author is comparing Bush to a dark American decade of Al Gore’s responsibility. A better title would be “The Dark American Decade of Bush v. Gore.”

I’m critical of Obama for failing to push back aggressively against Republican stonewalling, and especially for his seemingly relatively passive posture in presenting his arguments for his policies. Yet I criticize progressives who fail to understand that the cohesiveness of the Republican opposition makes it a very formidable force, especially against the splintered Democrats. How ironic it is that Charles Krauthammer—a near icon of the far right—calls the compromise on the recent tax bill, including extension of the tax cuts for the rich and more unemployment benefits, Obama’s “Swindle of the Year.”

The opening paragraph of Krauhammer's piece in The Washington Post reads, “Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 — and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his US$814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years — which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?”

Mark E. Smith said...

Rational Dialogue? There is no "Republican opposition." The Republicans support the Obama bailouts. The trillions Obama borrows from China to give to wealthy Republicans doesn't help our economy. The only jobs they create are in China. Making the obscenely rich obscenely richer, isn't a stimulus, it's a sell out.

The oligarchy isn't divided into two political parties. Don't listen to what they say--look at what they do. Why is "borrow and spend" any better than "tax and spend?" Because we end up paying millions more in interest?

The trillions that Obama gives away with no strings attached is borrowed money, but he doesn't have to pay it back, we do. And it all goes to rich Republicans, not to working class Democrats.

The job of the Republicans, as the late Walter Karp explained in his classic book, Indispensable Enemies, is to represent the interests of the political right. The job of the Democrats is to co-opt the left so that there can't be an effective opposition to the political right.

During the presidential race of '08, when Obama, the Democratic nominee, was supposed to be competing with McCain, the Republican nominee, there was so much public opposition to the next round of bailouts for the rich that Obama and McCain stopped pretending to compete, in the middle of a presidential campaign, and issued a joint statement supporting the bailouts. That said that there was no competition, that both candidates and both parties favored the rich and didn't care what ordinary Americans wanted. No matter how people voted, they were going to end up with bailouts for the rich because there is only one political party in this country, not two, and there is no real competition between them.

Sure they put on an act and their political hacks in the mainstream media hype it. But it's like professional wrestling or the good cop and the bad cop. They pretend to be enemies or to be different from each other, but they have the same goals and the same agenda. The Democrats and Republicans in our oligarchy associate only with each other, with rich people like themselves, and they have staff to handle the public. You have to be wealthy if you want to speak with one of them.

In most democracies there really are competing political parties, and there are bona fide political parties of the left that represent working people, but not in the USA.

Judging people by whether they are Democrat or Republican is a big mistake. Joe Lieberman was the second most important Democrat in the country when he was Gore's running mate, and now he's a Republican. Democrat and Republican are just labels of convenience, nothing more, and people shouldn't be fooled by them.

Before the '08 election I did something most people would never do. I compared the voting records of Obama and McCain during the time they were in the Senate together, and saw that they were virtually identical. Then I looked at their big corporate donors, and they were the same multinationals, although they gave slightly more money to Obama than to McCain. So I didn't need Obama and McCain to stop pretending to be running against each other and issue a joint statement in favor of bailouts to tell me that they were both corporate puppets and servants of the oligarchy.

Voting is nothing more than granting the consent of the governed to candidates who won't represent you and can't be held accountable. Even voting third party is stupid, because Demopublicans and Republicrats have an iron lock on US politics. There are only two major parties and they both have the same agenda--screwing the American public to further the selfish interests of themselves and their wealthy cronies.

Mark E. Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn't be about winning states. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO-- 68%, IA --75%, MI-- 73%, MO-- 70%, NH-- 69%, NV-- 72%, NM-- 76%, NC-- 74%, OH-- 70%, PA -- 78%, VA -- 74%, and WI -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE --75%, ME -- 77%, NE -- 74%, NH --69%, NV -- 72%, NM -- 76%, RI -- 74%, and VT -- 75%; in Southern and border states: AR --80%, KY -- 80%, MS --77%, MO -- 70%, NC -- 74%, and VA -- 74%; and in other states polled: CA -- 70%, CT -- 74% , MA -- 73%, MN – 75%, NY -- 79%, WA -- 77%, and WV- 81%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR (6), CT (7), DE (3), DC (3), ME (4), MI (17), NV (5), NM (5), NY (31), NC (15), and OR (7), and both houses in CA (55), CO (9), HI (4), IL (21), NJ (15), MD (10), MA(12), RI (4), VT (3), and WA (11). The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, and WA. These 7 states possess 76 electoral votes -- 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

Mark E. Smith said...

The National Popular Vote would be a great idea in a country that had free, fair, open, verifiable elections.

We do not.

93% of all votes in the United States, no matter how they care cast, are counted secretly by computers called central tabulators. These can be programmed by insiders to allocate the votes by percentage to whichever candidates they wish, and are easily hacked by outsiders. There is absolutely no way to verify that the central tabulators counted the votes accurately. Phenomena such as tens of thousands of votes disappearing, or thousands of votes cast in districts with only a few hundred registered voters, are put down to "glitches which didn't change the results of the election." In federal elections the courts (other than the Supreme Court which can do anything it wants), have no jurisdiction, and Congress has not seen fit to investigate Federal Election Contests where a candidate has proof that an election was stolen. Our Constitution, Article I, Section 5, makes Congress the sole judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its Members, so if Congress decides that the loser won, there's nothing that anyone can do about it.

There's also the problem of ballot access and the money needed to run a successful campaign. Anyone who has or can raise that much money is not likely to identify with or represent Americans in lower income brackets. Changing oligarchs every few years does not change an oligarchy.

Even if a candidate representing the majority of Americans wins the popular vote in the primaries, the major political parties have super-delegates who can override the popular vote to ensure that the candidate the corporations prefer gets the nomination.

Congress can also, if it wishes to, reject Electoral votes, so if the National Popular Vote resulted in a candidate the corporations which fund the major political parties didn't want, Congress could simply reject enough Electoral votes, on any pretext they wished, to invalidate the vote.

The framers of our Constitution were opposed to democracy and wanted to ensure that those who owned the country, ruled it. So they wrote a Constitution that ensured that the popular vote would never be the final say in an election. These days votes can be, and in some cases have been proven to be, thrown out improperly by elections officials, miscounted by the central tabulators, or overridden by super-delegate, Congress, or the Supreme Court.

The reason we have corrupt, unverifiable elections is because the oligarchy knows that half the American people are so apathetic that they will continue to vote even if they have no way to know if their votes are counted or not. Somehow Americans got the mistaken notion that casting an uncounted vote for a candidate they can't hold accountable, is a voice in government or a precious right. This misperception is so ingrained that if you ask people if they'd continue to vote if the only federally approved voting mechanism was a flush toilet, many will say that they would and berate you for trying to take away their precious vote.

Florence Chan said...

This is a far better piece than the one in a recent Time magazine, whose cover story was "What Really Happened" in major national events in the past 10 years. One of those events was the 2000 election, and the guest writer was Bill Clinton. What can you expect from Clinton, who's a member of the ex-presidents club? He simply doled out equal share of blame to everyone involved. The whole piece kept pointing out the obvious such as don't take the democratic process for granted, the voting system is not perfect, etc., etc. Like many others he also presumed that hand counting the votes was impractical. The whole "analysis" was so superficial that it sounded like an assignment from a freshman English class.